“It takes a least three months to know what kind of dog you got,” reminded family friend and vet Audrey Gale-Dyer, as she virtually accompanied us through Sam-the-Dog’s transition from shelter to our home.

It’s been three months. So now we know, we got a good dog. You’re a good dog, Sammy, yes you are.

Sam loves his teddy.

We sent in Sam’s cheek swab for a doggy DNA analysis, because he seemed like a dog you can’t judge by looks. For example, he looks like a small German Shepherd but doesn’t have an ounce of guard-dog in him. Turns out Sam is mostly Lab (37%) plus Husky (12.5%), German Shepherd (12.5%), and Collie (12.5%), with 25% unidentified “mixed breed.” It’s a good mix. It’s Sam.

Sam’s Basic Obedience class.

Sam just earned his Basic Obedience class certificate from the wonderful Good Dog Center in Decorah. He rocked the class.

The big news is Sam learned how to snuggle. For a long time he’d be too excited to sit on the couch with me. It used to be, “Oh, boy! I love this! Let me put my mouth over your wrist and show you where to pet. Don’t like that? Well, let me stand on your lap and play King of the Umma. Don’t like that? Then I’ll nibble your sock-covered toes.” Now, couch time is, “I’m sitting close, but I think I’ll get closer. Keep scratching me behind my ears.”

Sam is turning into a snuggler.

Even without the DNA results, we knew Sam was a herder. On a cellular level, Sam accepts his job is moving cattle. Since we don’t provide him with livestock, we become cattle substitutes. This means directing us with nudges at the heels and tugs on sleeves. We’re working on it. At the end of March, Sam will begin the Manners Too course, which will help.

Hank, our beloved grand-dog, and Sam have spent quality time together, including a week-long sleepover. They coexist. Hank at 9-years has a different energy than 21-month-old Sam. Sam is jealous when we pay attention to Hank. “Remember, me? You love me, too, right?” Lest you worry about Hank, he does just fine. He walks into the house and claims the favored dog bed and toy. Age has privilege.

Hank and Sam celebrate the Year of the Dog.

About week three into our new adventure, we were thrilled when Hank and Sam mutually invited each other to play, chasing each other around the kitchen island. We were thrilled until we noticed Sam was peeing on the run. So.Much.Pee. So much for excitement. We have new appreciation for calm coexistence.

Happy Sammyversary, sweetie. You’re a good dog, yes, you are.

Sue Edison-Swift
March 3, 2018


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